The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) has barred Disk Jockeys (DJs) from streaming their shows online unless they are licenced by owners or Collective Management Organisations (CMOs).
In a tweet on March 26, KECOBO says that once a DJ starts streaming music online, he/she automatically becomes a radio station and should pay the licencing fees.
“Anyone who violates the exclusive rights of the copyright owner is an infringer of that copyright. When a DJ creates a live stream and starts broadcasting music to the Internet, he has become a radio station. He needs licences from copyright owners or CMO,” wrote KECOBO.
In a statement, KECOBO executive director Edward Sigei said that all DJs are required to pay Ksh10,000 annually or Ksh750 per event in order to be licenced.
“In the case of public performance in the traditional sense (in an unlicensed venue, no streaming), a Deejay would be required to pay for a license from the Collective Management Organization (CMOs). The license requirement applies to Deejays who are not attached to a licensed business premises. Deejays who perform at a venue that has obtained their CMO License are not required to pay,” said Mr Sigei.
However, according to Sigei, for Deejays who would like to stream their performance, they are subject to the Terms and Conditions of the platform they may wish to use.
“That aspect is beyond the ambit and Jurisdiction of KECOBO and the CMOs. The reason is that recorded music in many jurisdictions is subject to rights management information monitoring technology that enables owners to account for its usage on digital platforms. The technological measures may trigger a complaint or copyright strike that leads to blockage of the stream,” he said.
“It is recommended that a Deejay or any other digital user wishing to exploit recorded music on digital platforms must whitelist of their channels with right holders as per terms and conditions of the platforms.”
Most DJs in Kenya have turned to online platforms to stream music during Covid-19 pandemic since most bars and restaurants that rely on their services have been closed.